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Council concludes investigation into buttermilk lake

Council concludes investigation into buttermilk lake

Buttermilk lake shown part way through its remediation process, with material being pumped out.

The Waikato Regional Council has concluded their investigation into the “buttermilk lake” discovered at Atiamuri, in the South Waikato, last October. As a result of the investigation formal warnings for breaches of the Resource Management Act have been issued to three parties.

“On the face of it this initially appeared to be a relatively serious environmental incident,” states council investigations manager Patrick Lynch. “However, now that we have looked into all of the relevant factors and surrounding circumstances we are confident that it looked far worse than it was.

“We have established that approximately 5 million litres of buttermilk was discharged onto land at the Atiamuri property over a two week period. Due to the topography where the buttermilk had been discharged, the soil type there, and some earlier earthworks that had been completed on site, we are satisfied there was no immediate loss of any contaminant to ground water or surface water.

“I think that it is fair to say that a high standard of remediation has subsequently occurred on site. All of the contaminant has been removed and lawfully disposed of.

“The discharge was a very large volume and its discharge into the storage pond was unlawful; however, taking into account the lack of adverse environmental effect and the positive response by the parties involved we have decided to issue formal warnings to the land owner, an individual involved in the management of the property, and the dairy supply company involved.

“We are also satisfied that changes to procedures at the dairy supply company concerned make a recurrence of this event extremely unlikely.”


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